On Lines of Flight: A Study of Deleuze and Guattari’s Concept

Edward Thornton

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis is a study of the concept of the line of flight (ligne de fuite), as it appears in the work of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. By mapping the individuation of this concept within a number of different works, authored either by one of these thinkers or by the two of them together, I show how and why the concept of the line of flight was created, how it functions within the conceptual domain of Deleuzoguattarian writing, and what kind of philosophical and political work it can do.

The first two chapters of the thesis examine the work completed by Deleuze and Guattari before their collaborations, especially Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition (1968) and Guattari’s Psychoanalysis and Transversality (1972). Here I pay close attention to Deleuze and Guattari’s reinterpretations of basic philosophical questions concerning the nature of space, time, and human agency and show how Deleuze and Guattari’s anti-capitalist politics is connected to their anti-representational metaphysics.

In the latter sections of the thesis I argue for a more vigilant reading of the politics contained in Anti-Oedipus (1972) and A Thousand Plateaus (1980). Chapters 3 and 4 examine Deleuze and Guattari’s creation of the concept of the line of flight in Anti-Oedipus, where it plays a central role in their analysis of both desiring-machines and social-machines. Chapters 5 and 6, on the other hand, examine the development of the concept in A Thousand Plateaus, where it is a key component in both their creation of rhizomatics and their political pragmatism.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Widder, Nathan, Supervisor
  • Somers-Hall, Henry, Supervisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date1 Sept 2018
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018


  • Deleuze
  • Guattari
  • line of flight
  • lines of flight
  • philosophy
  • psychoanalysis
  • politics
  • Anti-Oedipus
  • A Thousand Plateaus

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